All Articles Tagged "gender roles"
Hi Damon,Me and my husband have been going through a really rough time. Four months ago he lost his job and since then things between us have steadily been on the decline. I’m stressed because I have to pay our bills, clean the house and take care of our children while he basically sits at home all day. I don’t want to nag him and question him everyday about whether or not he’s taking the proper steps to find employment; but judging by the way the house looks when I come home in the evening, I’m pretty sure he’s lounging in front of the tv all day.The other morning things came to a head as I was trying to get the kids ready for school. He was still in bed and I asked him if he could help me out a little bit. He wouldn’t get up so I had to ask him at least three times. I guess he got frustrated because he called me out of my name. I know this wasn’t right but I completely lost it. I started screaming and throwing things at him. Once I’d calmed down, I asked him not to be home when I got back.Despite this rough patch, I still want to work on my marriage and I think it would be best to understand where his head is at right now. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in this position but can you, as a man, explain to me where a man’s head might be at when he’s unemployed. And then secondly, do you think I was wrong for putting him out of the house– at least temporarily? Where should we go from here?Thanks in advance,Distressed and Desperate
Somewhere along the line the term “double standard” became accepted as only applicable to women. But there are plenty of, “Wait a minute…that’s not fair!” moments that men experience. They may not tell women because women would feel offended —even though women can point out double standards against them left and right. Consider that double standard #1. And here are the rest.
So recently I was in Ghana on a repatriation and investment tour, taking in culture and history and some of the social scene, particularly the men folk.
Let’s be honest, I don’t care how wonderfully vibrant and economically lush a country may be, a good social game is paramount to any choice destination, especially if you are a young, single person looking to repatriate. Well, you would be happy to know that there are some really good looking men in Ghana in a variety of styles and hues. Likewise, most folks there speak English, in addition to native languages, and they dress almost similar to Westerners, so you won’t be too home sick.
But there are some notable cultural differences. For one, Ghanaian men have no qualms about being affectionate–including with each other. Imagine the raised eyebrows at seeing men – self-described straight men — holding hands, hugging and dancing in groups with each other. That would never happen here in the States. Never. Even Yuwil, a new friend of mine from Washington State, who dreams of expatriating to Ghana in hopes of getting more in touch with his African side, said upon seeing two men swinging arms and holding hands, “S**t, that’s one local custom they can keep to themselves.”
However, despite having a more modern feel to the country, in some ways Ghanaians, particularly Ghanaian men, still tend to lean more on traditional gender roles. For instance, Stephanie from Brooklyn, another traveler on the tour, was sitting with me and having food and drinks at the lounge at our hotel in Accra. We were conversing with two Ghanaian men about how common it was to see women walking around balancing and carrying trays of stuff – food, water bottled for sale, meat, rice, firewood – on their head and a baby tied to their backs, while her male companion seemed to walk beside her, untethered by baggage and/or children. “Why does it seems like the women do all the work and the men here just pretty much take it easy?” Stephanie asked, with some cosigns from me.
“See when women start talking that human rights stuff, I stop listening and say go ‘head,” said Kojo, who acted as security and local customs and courtesy expert for the tour. By human rights, he meant gender equality. And he was done with the conversation before we even started. “You see, those are Western women values. Ghanaian men are very respectful of women,” said Kobina, another native Ghanaian tour guide and friend of Kojo. According to both men, who hail from the Ashanti region, the foreigners, particularly NGO (non-government organizations), have imposed their own values on Ghana, including the belief that women are being oppressed. Therefore, more women are willing to delay marriage and leave their husbands for what both men described as the most frivolous of reasons. “I know a woman, who left her husband because he cheated on her. How silly is that?” said Kobina.
As Kobina explained, there are duties in society that each gender is expected to perform. Women are expected to take care of the house, take care of the children, take care of the men and perform their womanly duties every night – the latter of which was emphasized many times. However, this doesn’t mean that women are powerless. In fact, said Kobina, when it comes to the home front, the family is very matriarchal. While women do most of the housework including laundry, cooking and the cleaning, women also keep order and call most of the shots in the house, particularly decisions around the family. “Really when it comes to the children, women have the final say. It doesn’t matter what the men say. If the mother doesn’t like it, it’s not going to happen,” he said.
But then I asked about our visit to the local weaving craft village, where we witnessed how the process to make the ink they used to die fabric was divided between the genders. What about that?. “You had this woman with a baby tied to her back, using all her might to pound and pound at this wood bark with this big, six-foot-tall pounding stick in order to extract liquid from it. And after all that huffing and puffing she does, the guy casually picks up the ink, puts it in a pot and stirs it – and that is the extent of his job. Clearly she is doing all the hard work in the relationship,” said Stephanie.
Kobina, laughing, assured us that we’re just not seeing the full picture. According to him, men are the ones who cut the wood and bring the food to make the stuff in the pot. “We’re the hunters. Who do you think finds the food? Women are not going to go up in the tree to get the coconuts, instead, they want us to do the heavy lifting jobs.” Using a panties analogy, Kobina said that while women will wash a man’s “panties,” men, on the other hand, wouldn’t wash a woman’s panties because that is woman’s work. And any man caught tending to his wife’s unmentionables would likely be laughed at and ridiculed by as many women as men. Kobina added that, “The reason why men don’t carry things is because they always have a stick in their hands. This is because they have to be ready to fight and defend their family, in case of an attack.”
Okay, so it’s the African version of chivalrous behavior? I’ll bite. However, I wasn’t quite convinced. So Kobina invited some strange local woman, who just happened to be waiting at the pool, to come speak to us. While she agreed with Kojo and Kobina that women do perform these duties out of respect for the family structure, she was also adamant that women, in fact, do the majority of the hard work. That’s when Kojo and Kobina thanked the sister and told her to go on about her business. I guess they had to send her away before she let the cat out of the bag any further.
There are plenty of men I met in Ghana, who offer the same opinions as our male Ghanaian friends. However, the gender equality conversation I had with Kojo and Kobina is almost identical to conversations I’ve had with men right here in Philadelphia. In fact, there were many situations that felt similar, including talk about baby mothers, child support and cheating spouses. It just goes to show you that no matter where you go in the world, male/female relationships stay virtually the same.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com
Women have become afraid to be women. We’re called slory if we dress hot. We’re called irrational if we have an emotion. We’re called weak if we require emotional support. Not every man feels this way but enough of them do—certainly the editors of popular men’s magazines—to the point that women walk around on eggshells, making sure not to act “too girly.” But you know what? That takes the fun out of life. If you find a good man, you should be able to act like a woman in all of these ways.
Researchers from Sweden’s Uppsala University have recently released some rather interesting findings about the rate of shipwreck survival, which gives insight to our long-held beliefs about the state of chivalry in our modern society.
Analyzing the data from 18 maritime disasters involving 15,000 people from more than 30 nationalities, spanning three centuries, researchers sought to determine if the widespread social norm of ‘women and children first’ actually gave women a better chance at survival in maritime disasters. However, what they discovered was that despite the long-held belief, women had a distinct survival disadvantage compared to men. More specifically, the study shows that women survived only 17.8 percent compared to men, who survived 34.5 percent. Ironically, while it is also a commonplace belief that the captain goes down with his ship, this study has revealed that the captain and the crew were 18.7 percent more likely to survive than passengers. And this all just solidifies why I have no intention of getting on a cruise anytime soon.
However, according to Hank Campbell, writer for Science 2.0 magazine, this study of maritime wrecks reveals just how un-sexist men really are. Campbell writes, “Modern sailors are not knocking women out of the way and getting on lifeboats during today’s shipwrecks because they are less chivalrous, they do it because they are less sexist.”
So the dude who almost knocked me down while trying to enter a door that I was exiting from, only did so because he felt we were equals? Ironically enough, I rarely see this sort of equality happen between two dudes. Hell, if one dude steps on another dude’s sneaker – intentional or accidental – he might catch a beat down. Because you know, that’s a sign of disrespect.
However, nothing about this study or the Science 2.0 column surprises me. It wasn’t that long ago that the cowardly captain of an Italian cruise ship not only abandoned the ship as it sank off of Italy’s coast, but also refused to go back to help save passengers stuck on the sinking ship even after being ordered to. And how could we forget the father of the year, who “heroically” jumped over a balcony, darted out the theater and into his truck, while his baby mom and their two children fended for themselves against a deranged gunman, begging the question: What would Batman really do?
Yes, I have long suspected that chivalry is a dying tradition. Historically speaking, chivalry was the traditional code of conduct used by those in the knighthood. Over time, its meaning had been expanded to include courteous social gestures given by gentlemen, usually directed at women, such as opening doors and pulling a chair out for a lady. However, these traditions seem to have been abandoned. Collectively it seems that many men folk have taken the “every man for himself” approach to traditional “act-rightness.” Besides pushing past you through a door, I have seen dudes, mostly young men, walk past a woman struggling up some stairs with a stroller without even offering assistance. I have seen men seated comfortably on a bus, not even yield a seat to an elderly woman. I have even been the recipient of parking spot theft at a mall from some smudge dude, who reckless eyeballed me like I was the one who was taking him to child support court. There is a lot of pent up hostility with the younger guys and it is getting worse from generation to generation.
It’s very rare that you find a man playing the role of the “house spouse.” The role of homemaker is usually associated with the wife, but more and more men are deciding to be stay-at-home husbands – and not just because theyr’e being lazy or trifling. For most men, being a house husband can be rough on the ego and quite emasculating. And for women, explaining this arrangement to their girls can be embarrassing – especially if they’re the judgmental type. But doing what’s best for you and your family may go against traditional gender roles, and gender-biasing may have to go out the window when considering the benefits of having your husband literally be the “man of the house.” As women are continuing to kill it in the work force, the number of stay-at-home husbands continues to grow…and for good reasons. Here are a few benefits to having your man rule the house while you’re out ruling the world!
Women aren’t just in the workplace in greater numbers these days. They’re also the primary breadwinner with greater frequency. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40 percent of American women earn more than their husbands. A report from the Center for American Progress in April found that about 70 percent of women in low-income families (income in the bottom 20 percent) are the main household earners. It’s about half for middle-income families. And one-third for among the top 20 percent.
This may sound like progress (and for women, it is), but it’s putting a strain on some marriages. Despite growing up in the midst of the women’s movement, men can still feel anger or shame at not “bringing home the bacon.”
“I don’t think so much about gender roles, but I do feel angry and helpless because I can’t financially support the family unit,” one stay-at-home dad tells The Wall Street Journal.
However, the stress of this gender role swap is lessened if men make enough money should they need to step up to the breadwinner role.
“Pressure eases up—and perceptions seem to change—when husbands’ salaries are enough to support the family should the wives’ pay evaporate,” the story goes on to say.
So men don’t feel quite so much anger — or perhaps stress — when they know they can step in to help their families financially if it’s necessary to do so. Other men would prefer not to occupy the stay-at-home role at all. All of this is indicative of a culture that’s still in flux when it comes to gender roles. Even as women take more significant roles in terms of household income, the income gap persists, especially among women of color. Attitudes and societal norms haven’t kept up with the realities on the ground.
The economic recession and the need for someone, anyone, in the home to earn money for the family will help move this issue along. In the meantime, women must work with their partners and spouses to make sure that the family is making ends meet without stepping on anyone’s ego.
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Do men have the same rules in the dating game as women? If so, are men allowed to break those rules, or do certain rules only apply to men?
There are a number of rules people play by and get played by in the game of dating and courtship. For instance; wait three days to call after a date, don’t rush things, pay attention to red flags, so on and so on. These three rules apply to both men and women when it comes to dating, however, there is one recent rule that has surfaced that applies strictly to women…or does it.
The infamous ’90 Day’ Rule. This rule encourages women to hold off on giving a man any benefits, particularly sexual benefits, for ninety days. This is a pretty straight forward and common sense rule for most women; in fact a substantial amount of women apply this rule very well in their dating lives. But does this rule apply to men too?Should it apply to them? The answer: absolutely.
There are so many benefits for men waiting to have sex with women, and there are benefits for the women who date men who are willing to wait for sex. One benefit is that a man can get to know a woman for who she really is, and be attracted to the beauty that lies within her. It’ll also give him time to see if he wants to be strictly friends with her or if he wants to pursue a relationship with her that will serve a purpose without the sex factor clouding his judgment.
Another benefit of men applying the 90 Day Rule to their dating lives is the prevention of unwanted, or unexpected pregnancies that may come with a lifetime of unnecessary drama. Now let’s not get things twisted, children are a blessing, but without taking the time to get to know someone before having sex with them, then realizing you made a mistake in sleeping with them and ‘slipping up’ may make you resentful towards the child who didn’t ask to be conceived, and deserves two nurturing parents who are on the same path and page.
Without taking the proper steps in getting to know someone first, you won’t know if you are on the same path and the same page; all you’ll know is the feeling of sexual gratification…maybe. For women, a man who is willing to wait to have sex means that he values you for who you are as a person, and does not view you as just a sexual being. It also shows that he is sexually responsible, and he has set standards for himself. Before having sex with a woman, a man should think about his long-term intentions with her, rather than seizing the short-term moment of physical gratification, because short-term moments can breed long-term effects.
If men decide to start applying the 90 Day Rule to their dating lives, it shouldn’t just be limited to sexual benefits, but it should also be applied to other major and some minor benefits, i.e. lavish dinners on the first date, elaborate gifts before six months, calling a woman more than twice a day, etc. If men held out on giving a woman any type of benefit other than the benefit of getting to know him for who he is rather than what he has, it will reveal the woman’s true intentions for being with him. This is not to say that a man should not work at getting and keeping a woman’s attention, but his focus for getting and keeping a woman’s attention should be to keep her focus on who he truly is.
While the 90 Day Rule is a simplistic rule of common sense for women, it should also be a simplistic rule of common sense that applies to men as well, because a man’s body should be valued and treasured the same as a woman’s. If the 90 Day rule does not apply to men, it creates yet another entity to the double standards of dating that says men are allowed to do certain things, but women aren’t. And if this cycle continues then both men and women will continue to lose at the game of dating. Men who decide to wait to have sex are aware of their bodies, and the responsibility they hold with the jewels they possess that help spring forth life and replenish the earth. They are conscious of the purpose for having sex, they value the intimacy that sex can bring, and they hold that responsibility near and dear to their heads and hearts. Ladies, let’s support those men who are willing to wait for sex by learning how to withhold sex from them and start building meaningful relationships.
Should the 90 Day Rule apply to men? Would you date a man who was withholding sex?
Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin
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As women, it seems like sometimes our lives are dictated by a set of rules that we just have to adhere to. There are some rules that people flake on (wearing white after Labor Day) or the ones that some women follow religiously (like the man should be the one to pay for everything on a date). Well, as times are a-changing. It’s my opinion (meaning that you can take this info or leave it) that some rules are meant to be broken… or at least amended.
P.S. Get ready to click, and don’t act like you don’t like it. We all know that you secretly do!
The UK’s Mirror reports on a study that shows women’s waistlines are six inches bigger today than they were 60 years ago. Why? While your first thought may lean towards diet, the research, performed by service provider Saga, says it’s because women do less housework.
The survey studied 8,000 people in Britain. According to the group, our new-tech, high-end appliances, which save us so much time and help women to step out of traditional roles, are causing us to gain weight. Nevermind that more women are able to have flexible schedules and balance work-family issues. If you want to lose weight, you need to go back 60 years in time.
“When you think of the time that women had to spend cleaning and cooking, life is so much easier now – although obviously that has contributed to the bigger waistlines,” Director general Dr Ros Altmann said.
The survey also took into account that 60 years ago, food rationing was still a standard in 1952. In addition, couples often provided financial support for elderly parents while today many of the over 50 population support themselves.
On the brightside, although waistlines may have grown, life expectancy for a 65-year-old woman has increased to an additional 24 years, and 22 years for men. In addition, perspectives on retirement have also changed. Back in 1952, retirement meant relaxation. Today, it’s a chance to pick up a new passion with about four in 10 adults opting to continue working after retirement.
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